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Publisher's Summary

With characters depicted in precise detail and wide panorama - a kept-woman's parlor, a contentious interracial baseball game on the Fourth of July, and the tragic true events of the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 - Kings of Broken Things reveals the folly of human nature in an era of astonishing ambition.

During the waning days of World War I, three lost souls find themselves adrift in Omaha, Nebraska, at a time of unprecedented nationalism, xenophobia, and political corruption. Adolescent European refugee Karel Miihlstein's life is transformed after neighborhood boys discover his prodigious natural talent for baseball. Jake Strauss, a young man with a violent past and desperate for a second chance, is drawn into a criminal underworld. Evie Chambers, a kept woman, is trying to make ends meet and looking every which way to escape her cheerless existence.

As wounded soldiers return from the front and black migrant workers move north in search of economic opportunity, the immigrant wards of Omaha become a tinderbox of racial resentment stoked by unscrupulous politicians. Punctuated by an unspeakable act of mob violence, the fates of Karel, Jake, and Evie will become inexorably entangled with the schemes of a ruthless political boss whose will to power knows no bounds.

Written in the tradition of Don DeLillo and Colum McCann, with a great debt to Ralph Ellison, Theodore Wheeler's debut novel Kings of Broken Things is a panoramic view of a city on the brink of implosion during the course of this summer of strife.

©2017 Theodore Wheeler. (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Highly recommend!

great insightful story. beautifully written really brings that period alive. Complex characters. REALLY great narration.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a good story, sometimes it's a bit hard to keep up

it was an okay to good book, it had it's moments where I couldn't keep up with who was who. but I enjoyed how most of this was kept to a true story the best he could do.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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doesn’t work as a novel

Perhaps the history is accurate, I don’t know, but as an historical novel it just doesn’t work. The characters are undeveloped and the motivations for their actions are undetected. By the end, I didn’t care about any of them.